The Jubilee Year 2000
was a turning point in time.
Amidst glitter and fireworks
a new century began.
All over the world people were happy, smiling;
letting go of a hundred troublesome years
and a thousand years of history
that shaped and transformed the world.
A new millennium had begun
and a new turning point in time.
Everywhere there was laughter,
merriment and great expectations.
The world was strong and invincible;
like the Titanic.
No waters were un-explorable.
Space was conquerable.
Scientific research more advanced than ever.
Hope was alight for a future bright.
Faces were aglow.
This was a time to be young
and to fantasise.
The new millennials were poised
to shape the millennium.
Time and destiny were in their control.
Civilisation was at a turning point in time.
the beginning of a new decade.
The glow began to fade
and a new reality invaded.
The world began to feel its brokenness,
experience its vulnerability,
weaken in its helplessness
and struggle with uncertainties.
The quest for glory incomplete.
The mighty Titanic once more flawed in the deep,
unable to cut through the iceberg of a pandemic.
The history of tragedies that once marked
our ancestors’ graves
was now shocking the world
in waves of a pandemic.
Far worse than a plague,
no-one was exempted.
Volatile humanity was called to accountability.
The new decade of 2020
was at a turning point in time.
The world was in crisis,
leaning backwards on its axis
caused by a virulent coronavirus.
People were fearing and dying.
Nations were locking down and crying.
There was desperation in facing the unknown
while in the darkness faith shed light
but seemed alone with churches closed.
The Church too found herself
at a turning point in time.
In the midst of modernity,
advanced health care and technology,
no-one expected such calamity and uncertainty.
The cries became fiercer
and the measures more stringent
as new waves spiked and shocked
nation after nation.
The glowing and excited face of humanity
at the beginning of the new millennium
was now masked
and the glow obscured.
There was more fear than joy,
more despair than hope.
COVID-19 had become a turning point in time.
In the North there was ‘Twittering’,
procrastination, denial and confusion.
In the South, braggadocio
and disrespect for COVID-19 data.
Meanwhile another Superpower bold-faced,
raced to be the first with its Spotnik Vaccine
in a politics of non-disclosure.
Everywhere world leaders made their pitch with words,
none having the answer
to a pandemic uncontrolled.
That too, signalled a turning point in time.
The statistics are mounting,
the data there to compare
but who is recording the emotions:
the pain, sufferings, anger;
the sadness of individuals and families
unable to visit, to be close to loved ones;
to greet, touch and say goodbye.
Grieving from a distance leaves an empty space.
For many all they have is ashes and mass graves.
There are no songs or supportive gatherings
to remember and weep.
Farewells without corpses or rituals;
with no time or place for viewing
or remembering times past
and uttering the last word,
leave a vacuum of emptiness and loneliness.
The impact is catastrophic:
no flowers for grandma;
no dirges for grandpa;
no children at the graveside;
no memories to keep
of the damp sod
and the flowers on the grave.
The final hurt and pain is loneliness:
there are no hands to hold;
no shoulders to cry on;
NOTHING AND NOTHINGNESS;
no tolling bells;
at this turning point in time
The scourge of 2020 will never be forgotten.
It has taken its toll on the young and the old,
the mighty and the weak.
The populated cemeteries and mass graves
will forever be landmarks
of a tale to be told.
Surely faces will glow again
and masks will be removed
but history will not mask the truth
of what is buried and entombed
at every turning point in time.
—Archbishop Robert Rivas OP of Castries,